Ofer wídne gársecg
Originally published in “Songs of the Philologists” and included in Shippey’s “The Road to Middle-earth”. Translated from Anglo-Saxon.
When the cold blast was blowing across the broad
ocean, a young man fell into the sea, into the power
of monsters. As fast as fire he made his way, he
swam along so quickly – until he met the mermen
near the deep sea-bottom.
Listen, I have seen the power of the kings of the
people of the Spear-Danes in days gone by – and also
the bridal beneath the sea, near the deep sea-bottom!
The mermaid then stood up from her chair, fawning
with her shining tail: her greeting was good. Smirking
with her lip she turned and stretched out her hand.
‘Now welcome indeed, my lord, to the mermen’s land!’
Listen, I have discovered the power of the kings of
the people of the Spear-Danes in days gone by – and
also the bridal beneath the sea, in the mermen’s land!
‘I may not stay here any more, now separate from
me!’ She said: ‘No, no, I will not be so! Now you will
marry me. No go back again and say “I’ll go on the
high sea no more. My wife is from the mermen near
the deep sea-bottom”.’
His companions in the ship sought him far across the
sea. They wept and cried out and scanned the
sea-bottom. Then up he sprang and sang aloud and
thrust hard at the rudder: ‘Go back again! The queen
makes me an invitation, from the mermen’s land!’
‘Share out my goods, my pots and coats and
brooches, give my clothes-chest to my niece and my
shoes to my mother!” The steersman stood angrily at
the prow, and turned toward the sea, said: “Fare
you well, and may Hell take you, near the deep